The Mazahua are an indigenous people of Mexico
Indigenous peoples of Mexico
Mexico, in the second article of its Constitution, is defined as a "pluricultural" nation in recognition of the diverse ethnic groups that constitute it, and in which the indigenous peoples are the original foundation...

, inhabiting the northwestern portion of the State of Mexico
Mexico (state)
México , officially: Estado Libre y Soberano de México is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of the United Mexican States. It is divided in 125 municipalities and its capital city is Toluca de Lerdo....

 and northeastern area of Michoacán
Michoacán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Michoacán de Ocampo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 113 municipalities and its capital city is Morelia...

, with a presence also in the Federal District owing to recent migration. The largest concentration of Mazahua is found in the municipalities
Municipalities of Mexico State
The Mexican state of Mexico is made up of 125 municipios :-External links:* Estado de México / State of Mexico...

 of San Felipe del Progreso
San Felipe del Progreso
San Felipe del Progreso is a town and municipality in the northwest of the State of Mexico. It is in the western part of ths state, 59 km from the state capital of Toluca and 72 km southwest of Atlacomulco. In colonial times, the village was founded as "San Felipe" or "San Felipe...

 and San José del Rincón, both in Mexico state (Estado de México), near Toluca
Toluca, formally known as Toluca de Lerdo, is the state capital of Mexico State as well as the seat of the Municipality of Toluca. It is the center of a rapidly growing urban area, now the fifth largest in Mexico. It is located west-southwest of Mexico City and only about 40 minutes by car to the...

. According to the 1990 Mexican census Mazahua speakers numbered 127,826; the Ethnologue counts some 350,000 Mazahua.

The word Mazahua is of Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 origin meaning "the owners of deer", probably referring to the rich fauna of the mountainous region inhabited by the Mazahua. However they refer to themselves as Hñatho.

The Mazahua subsist mainly on the extensive agriculture of maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, squash
Squash (fruit)
Squashes generally refer to four species of the genus Cucurbita, also called marrows depending on variety or the nationality of the speaker...

 and beans, and they also produce wool and wooden handicrafts.

Recently the Mazahua were affected adversely by the Cutzamala dam operation, which caused many Mazahua, mainly women, to take up arms and form civil rights movements to protect their land claims and human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...


The Mazahua language
Mazahua language
The Mazahua language is an indigenous language of Mexico, spoken in the country's central states by the ethnic group widely known as the Mazahua but who refer to themselves as Hñatho. Mazahua is a Mesoamerican language and shows many of the traits which define the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area...

 belongs to the Otomian branch of the Oto-Manguean languages
Oto-Manguean languages
Oto-Manguean languages are a large family comprising several families of Native American languages. All of the Oto-Manguean languages that are now spoken are indigenous to Mexico, but the Manguean branch of the family, which is now extinct, was spoken as far south as Nicaragua and Costa Rica.The...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.